BT was moving its mid-market sales team from an older building it had outgrown to a custom-built office, completely refitted for the purpose, in Horwich, Bolton. The new building, called Alpha and Beta House, is home to all the sales and back-office support staff for the BT Business Direct operation. The site is on a commercial/retail estate, so easier for customers and staff to get to, with all amenities on site and well served by transport links. The building also serves as a reference showcase for customers wanting to see products in action.
IT manager, Alex Davis, project managed the technical implementation of the IP cameras at the new building. He says: “Historically we’d always had analogue CCTV systems which the facilities team would look after, but over the last few years, more of the cameras are IP-based, so it was felt at this time the IT team would look after them.”
BT Business Direct issued an open invitation to a small number of preferred suppliers, asking how they would meet the brief. It quickly became obvious that D-Link had the best solution, both because of the picture quality of its 2 Megapixel cameras and the end-to-end nature of the solution it was proposing including cameras, network infrastructure, storage and software. In addition, its edge-of-network design means the impact on the network is minimised, and redundancy is built in.
Initially, BT Business Direct came up with some suggested positions for cameras based on the new building’s floor plan. However, using the electronic PTZ function of the D-Link DCS-6616 cameras and changing the lenses to wide-angles, D-Link suggested replacing three cameras that were grouped together with one PTZ camera to survey the whole room. This reduced the cost of the overall solution, provided sharper coverage around the office, and meant Davis’ team had to scan fewer cameras in the event of an emergency.
D-Link’s design of the solution sees DCS-6112 cameras connected to DNS-726-4 network video recorders, with a maximum of 9 cameras per unit. The recorders are networked on a VLAN, with all the benefits of improved quality of service, resiliency and full redundancy built in. If a single camera fails, a Samba client will record the video locally; if an NVR fails, the cameras can record to an alternative unit.
BT Business Direct was initially looking at using a third party piece of software for monitoring, but D-Link suggested using its own bundled DCS-100 software which can manage up to 32 cameras. The software is easy to use and with a couple of hours training, plus one follow-up visit, Davis and his team are fully confident in their use of the system. “They reduced the cost by bringing the system to be completely D-Link so that was good again from our point of view,” says Davis.
“It was a really simple process, not from a technical perspective, but from D-Link dealing with us, and the advice they provided, it all went seamlessly. As they agreed the points where the cameras were going to be, we had the power and cable points run in, so any camera that needed power and network points were all there ready to go.”
According to Davis, the main benefit of the new system is the way it is implemented. “You’ve got one cable running back to one switch and it’s all remotely managed so there are no overheads on having the system. It’s just another network device. That for us is the main advantage."
Based on positive experiences from this project, BT Business Direct is considering installing D-Link cameras in the national logistics centre in the future. “At the moment the national logistics centre CCTV is an aging system. We are looking the next 12 months to replace that. And why wouldn’t we put in a D-Link system?”